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Spotlight on Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

Thirty years after Morgentaler ruling on abortion rights, Canada ‘still dealing with the same issues’

“We have had a significant and long-standing lack of leadership within executive branches of government to actually make access to abortion a barrier-free reality,” says Sandeep Prasad, an Ottawa-based lawyer and activist with Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

For example, Mifegymiso, the two-step abortion pill, became available in France and China in 1988 — the same year Canada decriminalized abortion.

Health Canada didn’t approve Mifegymiso until July 2015, and barriers still remain to its use — it can only be prescribed up to nine weeks, and can be subject to a requirement for an ultrasound.

“It’s been available for 30 years and it’s just reaching the Canadian market now,” Prasad says, noting that while an ultrasound is recommended, there are other safe methods to rule out ectopic pregnancy and confirm gestational age.

“In many areas of sexual reproductive rights, we have a long way to go as a country.”

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